TUCSON -- Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva, Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands will participate today in the House Natural Resources Subcommittee for Water and Power Congressional Field Hearing on the water quality of the Lower Colorado River.
The stretch of the River between Hoover Dam and the U.S.-Mexico border alone provides drinking water to 18 million people in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Mexico. Major metropolitan areas served by this stretch of the River include Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Phoenix, Tucson, and Tijuana, Mexico.
Demand for the water will skyrocket as the population of California and Arizona is projected to nearly double between 2000 and 2050. Development along the River itself will reflect these numbers, exacerbating already serious contamination issues resulting from large numbers of septic tanks leaking wastewater into groundwater adjacent to the River. This has forced small cities along the River into desperate financial straits as they attempt to implement costly remedies that they cannot possibly afford without significant aid.
“The Colorado River is the lifeblood of the Southwest,” said Grijalva. “It not only provides drinking water and irrigation, it has provided unrivaled recreation and natural landscapes, such as the Grand Canyon. Population growth, climate change, and an already over-allocated water supply and now the worriment of past industrial and mining activities will stress the River in ways never seen before. We need to come up with a better solution for The River, before it is too late.”
"The Colorado River is in trouble, and that means trouble for all of us across the southwest and northern Mexico who depend on her for water and life," said Arizona State Representative Daniel Patterson (D-Tucson). "I appreciate the subcommittee meeting in Tucson and Mr. Grijalva's sincere interest in the river, a critical issue to the State of Arizona, our economy and quality of life."
Rep. Patterson is an ecologist who serves on the AZ House Water & Energy Committee.
- adapted from N. Luna
US Rep. Raul M. Grijalva and AZ Rep. Daniel R. Patterson
Sky Jacobs photo